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Friday, June 11, 2021
The MRC's Ridiculous 'Big Tech Report Card'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war against "Big Tech" has always been a partisan exercise because conservatives need an additional enemy. Now it fancies itself high-tech schoolmarms now by issuing a "big tech report card" that suspiciously reflects the MRC's political agenda:

By almost any measure, the first three months of 2021 were the worst ever for online freedom. Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube and others proved to the world that the Big Tech censorship of conservatives is a reality. And they did so in disturbing, authoritarian ways that highlight their unchecked power over information and our political process.

At least 10 separate tech platforms silenced then-sitting President of the United States Donald Trump over the speech he gave in Washington, D.C. the day of the Capitol riot. Both Google and Apple pulled Parler from their app stores. Amazon Web Services also cancelled its contract with Parler, shutting the burgeoning social media site down for more than five weeks. Google removed LifeSiteNews from its advertising programs, and YouTube shut down its channel. YouTube demonetized Steven Crowder’s channels. Amazon removed Ryan T. Anderson’s book examining transgender ideology, and it also removed a Clarence Thomas documentary while continuing to sell at least 270 hate items.

That consistent assault on free speech makes 2021 an ideal time to track the biases and failures of Big Tech. Starting with this quarter and going forward every three months, the Media Research Center’s Free Speech America operation will grade the top Big Tech companies, including social media, search media and others that form the backbone of our online lives.

This quarter, Big Tech earned a collective “F.” Every one of the Big Tech companies reviewed got an “F” in free speech. That’s simply appalling. The quarter began with unparalleled restriction of the president of the United States. It was unquestionably the low point for online freedom since the creation of the internet.

Did anyone expect anything else from the MRC? All the grades are subjective, of course, and even then, the number of D's and C's on the "report card" should have brought things down to something higher than a overall F rating -- but who cares about accurate math when the entire thing is a fabrication?

Of course, while the MRC is perfectly happy to rant about right-wingers getting suspended or banned from social media, it's much less enthusiastic about explaining why they happened -- which means the MRC is effectively defending Trump inciting the Capitol riot, Steven Crowder's homophobia, Parler users' violent threats and LifeSite's coronavirus conspiracy theories.

There was also no mention of private property rights. Twitter, Facebook, et al, are private companies who have the right to do with their platform as they choose and to enforce their terms of service. The MRC doesn't believe that the property rights other businesses have apply to social media firms.

Needless to say, the MRC would never subject right-wing-biased social media platforms to the same harsh treatment. Indeed, they refused to do so, copping out by claiming they're too new while also vociferiously defending Parler:

Because these platforms are so new, there was not much data on how these platforms will moderate content. Parler’s guidelines already explained that it does not allow certain kinds of speech, despite what the leftist narrative has pushed. It also outlined a community review system where a group of users who were trained on what is and is not acceptable must have a majority vote in order for content to be removed. Parler also instituted a point system, which it has been transparent about, that can ultimately lead to users being suspended or banned from the platform. It has not really been the “Wild West” that the leftist media would have you believe.

Given the newness of these alternative platforms, the new platforms were not evaluated in this report card. As more data become available on what sort of content these platforms are removing and how they are handling user complaints, the new platforms may be added to future report cards. New free speech oriented platforms that will be monitored include Parler, Gab, Rumble, MeWe, Clapper, Telegram, Locals and CloutHub.

Also needless to say, the MRC again failed to disclose the conflict of interest that chief Parler funder Rebekah Mercer is also the biggest single funder of the MRC.

So committed, however, is the MRC to this ridiculous, meaningless "report card" that after Facebook reaffirmed its suspension of Trump, Heather Moon wrote a May 6 post headlined "Facebook Oversight Board Confirms MRC Big Tech Report Card with Trump Decision." It complained about Facebook's alleged lack of transparency in suspending Trump; but the MRC used to have comment sections on its NewsBusters post in which posters were banned for less-than-transparent reasons (like, say, pointing out inaccuracies in posts or not reinforcing right-wing narratives).

Moon never admitted that Trump used social media to incite the Capitol rioit -- she's not getting paid to do that -- but she whined that the "international makeup" of the Facebook oversight board supposedly played a role in keeping Trump suspended, though she offered no evidence to back this up. It doesn't matter that Facebook has bent over backwards to accomodate conservatives -- or that the MRC itself touts how well its right-wing content does on Facebook -- the narrative must always be followed, truthful or not.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EDT

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